I lived in Atlanta for five years, and while in Atlanta there wasn’t a pay-per-view event you couldn’t watch at a local bar-and-grill. So, when I relocated to Albany, to my surprise, very few of the restaurants here showed pay-per-view fights. Each time a fight, boxing or UFC would air, I would call local restaurants to see if they were showing the event. To my amazement, many local restaurants had no clue to what I was asking. That is until last week, a friend of mine told me that the next UFC fight would be shown at a local restaurant. Needless to say, I was very happy.
No sooner than he told me that Beef O’Brady’s would be showing the fight, I contacted my wife and told here what I would be doing that coming Saturday night. I could not wait until the weekend, because here in Albany there is not much that young urban professionals can do outside of going to the mall, to the movies or to Applebee’s.
I nearly watched my watch the whole day because I wanted to arrive at the restaurant early enough to get a good seat. Not to mention, I was told that Beef ‘O’ Brady’s would be serving $2 beer. This let me know this was the place to go from now on for pay-per-view fights.
As I entered the restaurant, people were already preparing for the night’s events and almost all the flat screens were showing the countdown video of the fight. The place was jumping as I made my way to the patio were the fight would be shown on a big projector screen, and many people were already enjoying themselves. After getting my seat, I told the waiter I wanted to speak to the manager and to my surprise the owner — Bill Farnsworth, a man in whom I could tell loved sports just by looking at him – was managing that night.
Bill’s frame was that of a former athlete, and when he shook my hand, I could tell he still spent time in the gym. He could only stay for a minutes, due to the little thing of managing his restaurant. I told him my name and that I wanted to write an article about the night’s events, and the paper in which I wrote for. He smiled and said, “Yeah, I read that paper.”
Bill passed me his business card, he told me thanks for coming and to enjoy myself, and boy did I. As in all pay-per-view fights, the under cards were lackluster, but boy did that change. On this night, we had two major fights, and they did not disappoint; one was a knockout, and the other was a submission. With both fights, the crowd went wild. Yet, throughout the night, there was a steady flow of customers, and a constant clacking of waiters tossing empty bottles of beer into the trash cane.
That’s when it hit me — what makes this time and this place stand out above any other restaurant in Albany. Had Bill done something different by building his restaurant beside one of the hottest schools in the southwest Georgia, Darton College? Had Bill discovered a lost treasure that none of the other restaurants had discovered? Well, it could be either or neither of these, but what we do know is that, whatever it is, it has worked. What Bill has done is what many bigger cities do regularly. A pay-per-view fight only cost around $50, and I don’t have to guess if he made his money back.
Albany goes by the moniker of being the “Good Life City,” yet finding that life has been hard for me in three years of being a resident. With an almost nonexistent downtown, and seemingly no plan for its future, the greatness of Farnsworth’s idea rings even more true and profitable, with the upcoming college and pro football seasons. It is not just about $2 beers or even watching fights, it is about understanding the world around you, and then developing a plan.
Albany is a great city; it is a place where you can get from one part of the town to the next in under 10 minutes. Albany is a place where everyone knows your name, kind of like the TV show, “Cheers.” Yet, what Albany is missing is the ability to take the energy of its youth and build around it. However, there are slivers of hope, and one of them is Bill Farnsworth and his restaurant Beef O’Brady’s.